Full Time
80:00
6:00pm Fri April 30, 2021
Round 8 - AAMI Park, Melbourne - Crowd: 10069

Round 8: Melbourne v Cronulla preview

Melbourne Storm meet Cronulla in the 6pm Friday timeslot, a kickoff time that is an insult to every single Rugby League fan. (But please, keep telling us how you're "giving the game back to the fans"). 

Melbourne come off a clinical dismantling of the New Zealand Warriors, however they did concede 20 points in the end, which they would have copped a roasting for by coach Bellamy, because they have higher standards than any team in the NRL. The Storm are chasing their 5th win in a row.

Cronulla, well, I told you last week they would lose to Canterbury. You don't treat a coach like the Sharks board and management did last week, without it affecting the playing group. 

In team news, Melbourne are forced into two concussion-related changes, with George Jennings and Nelson Asofa-Solomona sitting the week out. As a result, Reimis Smith moves to the wing, and Tom Eisenhuth starting at centre. Chris Lewis comes in onto the bench.

Sadly for Storm fans, Ryan Papenhuyzen misses another week with his shoulder injury.

For the Sharks, captain Wade Graham is back, after two games out with a head knock, Will Chambers will make his Cronulla debut against his former club. Aiden Tolman returns to the side after his suspension, to also line up against his former club.

Matt Moylan will be given a chance to prove his fitness, being named on the extended bench. Josh Dugan is demoted to the extended bench, and Siosifa Talakai is out suspended.

These 2 teams have played 6 times since 2018, and it's 3 wins a piece, however the Storm have won the last two matchups, the last time they met was in an empty stadium Covid clash, that the Storm won 12-10.

Last meeting: Round 2 2020 - Sharks 10 Storm 12

Who to watch: For Melbourne, it is always a pleasure to watch this team. Of most interest is watching the development of Jahrome Hughes into an elite half. He was outstanding last week against the Warriors, and I'm expecting to see him repeat the dose this week.

For Cronulla, if they're going to get anything out of this game, Shaun Johnson will have to absolutely play out of his skin. He'll be better for the run last week.

The favourite: Melbourne are comfortable, clear cut favourites. You won't get anything back for your dollar, unless you have a house to put on. (Gamble responsibly).

My tip: Oh this one is going to get messy. Cronulla have invited drama and division to their club and they got punished for it last week, and they will continue to be punished for it this week.

This is Melbourne's league and we all just live in it. Sorry (not sorry) Penrith, but this Storm outfit is far and away the best team in this league. Melbourne by 30.